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All you wanted to know about fixed-layout eBooks

Fixed-layout format is thinking for authors who want to have complete control over the end result of their eBooks. These ePUBs are a fantastic format for graphic heavy eBooks, such as cookbooks, travel books, comic books or children’s books, and give to user a great reading experience.

We are not talking about PDFs. It’s more than that and the specific styles and layouts used in these files are not re-flowable like standard eBook files. With the fixed-layout ePUBs the final user or reader cannot alter the graphic design or change the font and text size. It has some drawbacks but also has other positive points in its favor because in a fixed-layout eBook you can introduce interactivity.

Fixed layout ePub is available from several companies. They are derived from the ePub specification with special restrictions and requirements.

For books with sophisticated illustrations or photographs the International Digital Publishing Forum, IDPF, recommends to use fixed-layout formats to produce beautiful, full-page, full-bleed, illustrated eBooks that retain printed page fidelity.

Fixed layouts vs. fluid or liquid layouts

YUDU Media’s CEO Richard Stephenson discusses about fixed layout ePub for the iBookstore.

Nowadays there are several fixed-layout eBook formats for the different retailers: Apple has its own produced for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices. There are many other companies working hard in this aspect. For instance, Barnes & Noble has its own fixed-layout ePUB for the Nook Color tablet, Kobo another one for its Vox tablet, and the giant Amazon the famous KF8 for the Kindle Fire tablet.

Depends on what device we use, this format incorporates nice features such as pinch and zoom, animated page turns, and automatic reorientation.

Using a fixed-layout eBook

Creamebooks’ example of fixed-layout format:

The production of these eBooks is more complex than creating a standard ePUB. In the Apple’s case, the process involves manipulating the fixed format layout publication file but the result is an iBooks ready file with searchable text, high-quality graphics, nice design, etc. which match the layout as closely as possible to the print layout using HTML, CSS and embedded fonts.

If you have audio narration available or if you want to record your voice yourself for your eBook, you can add it to allow readers to have the eBook read to them.


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